A Pennsylvania registered agent for service of process is an individual or business designated to receive legal documents on behalf of your business. He or she must have a registered office, which is a physical address in the state. This cannot be a PO box. A Pennsylvania registered agent is sometimes called a Pennsylvania Commercial Registered Office Provider (CROP). The role and duties are exactly the same.

Choosing a Registered Agent

Newly established Pennsylvania businesses or out-of-state businesses who want to register in PA must appoint a registered agent who is either:

  • An individual such as a family member, friend, or business partner
  • A commercial registered agent service provider
  • Another corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or business entity

An individual registered agent must be a PA resident. A business serving as a registered agent must be registered to do business in PA. If your business does not have a PA location, choosing a commercial registered agent is often the most convenient option. This service typically costs about $49 per year.

To select a new registered agent, you must complete and file a Change Form with the state department. This carries a $70 filing fee.

PA Registered Agent Laws

These regulations are reprinted from the PA Rules for Civil Procedure.

Rule 400. Person to Make Service

-Service of original process shall be made within the Commonwealth by the persons authorized by Rule 400.2 by handing a copy in the manner provided by Rules 402 through 402.2.
-In addition to service by the sheriff, original process may be served also by a competent adult in the following actions: equity, partition, prevent waste, and declaratory judgment when declaratory relief is the only relief sought.
-If service cannot be made under the applicable rule, service of original process shall be made in the manner provided by order of court pursuant to Rule 430.
-The return of service shall be made in the manner provided by Rule 405.
-In lieu of service under these rules, the defendant or the defendant's authorized agent may accept service of original process by filing a separate document which shall be substantially in the form prescribed by Rule 450.

Adopted June 14, 1999, Amended and effective May 11, 1990; Oct. 2, 1995, effective Jan. 1, 1996; May 14, 1999, effective July 1, 1999.

Rule 401. Time for Service. Reissuance, Reinstatement and Substitution of Original Process. Copies for Service

Original process shall be served within the Commonwealth within thirty days after the issuance of the writ or the filing of the complaint.
(1) If service within the Commonwealth is not made within the time prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule or outside the Commonwealth within the time prescribed by Rule 404, the prothonotary upon praecipe and upon presentation of the original process, shall continue its validity by reissuing the writ or reinstating the complaint, by writing thereon “reissued” in the case of a writ or “reinstated” in the case of a complaint.
(2) A writ may be reissued or a complaint reinstated at any time and any number of times. A new party defendant may be named in a reissued writ or a reinstated complaint.

(3) A substituted writ may be issued or a substituted complaint filed upon praecipe stating that the former writ or complaint has been lost or destroyed.

(4) A reissued, reinstated or substituted writ or complaint shall be served within the applicable time prescribed by subdivision (a) of this rule or by Rule 404 after reissuance, reinstatement or substitution.

(5) If an action is commenced by writ of summons and a complaint is thereafter filed, the plaintiff instead of reissuing the writ may treat the complaint as alternative original process and as the equivalent for all purposes of a reissued writ, reissued as of the date of the filing of the complaint. Thereafter the writ may be reissued, or the complaint may be reinstated as the equivalent of a reissuance of the writ, and the plaintiff may use either the reissued writ or the reinstated complaint as alternative original process.

The copy of the original process to be served upon the defendant shall be attested by the prothonotary or certified by the plaintiff to be a true copy. Adopted June 20, 1985, effective January 1, 1986.

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